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Kentucky Regulators to Hear Public Comments on Oil, Gas Drilling

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Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet will hold three meetings across the state to take public comments on oil and gas development.

Though there’s been oil and gas drilling in the commonwealth for decades, the industry has grown in recent years. Some companies are speculating that the Rogersville Shale in Eastern Kentucky could be profitable, and if that shale is tapped, it would require large-scale hydraulic fracturing, like what’s currently going on in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. A comprehensive bill to update the state’s regulations passed during this year’s General Assembly.

In February, the Kentucky Oil and Gas Conservation Commission held a rare meeting to hear testimony on a proposed horizontal deep well in eastern Kentucky. Members of the public showed up to express concerns about the permit, and fracturing, or fracking, in particular, but were told it wasn’t the proper venue to express those concerns.

These public meetings, it appears, will provide those citizens an opportunity to be heard. Cabinet Secretary Len Peters said in a released statement that the format will allow brief spoken comments and the submittal of written comments.

“There will be no debate between those on each side of the issue. These will be ‘listening sessions’ for the cabinet to receive comments on a wide array of issues surrounding the Kentucky oil and gas industry,” he said.

According to the cabinet, the comments made at the meetings will be used in a report distributed to the oil and gas work group that is trying to modernize Kentucky’s statutes and regulations. The group is made up of regulators, industry representatives and members of environmental groups.

The cabinet will announce the dates and times of the three meetings in the coming weeks. One will be in Hazard, one in Madisonville and one in Somerset.